There appears to be a strong correlation between the incidence of skin cancer and caucasians, especially those of Irish and Scottish decent. It is evident that people who have Irish or Scottish heritage, have lighter and fair skin, which is very sensitive to sun and it’s harmful and damaging rays. Those with darker skin, are less likely to have their skin burn in the sun; their darker pigment gives them an element of protection. Genetics would also be a major contributing factor for developing skin cancer. If one of our family members has been diagnosed with skin cancer, they can potentially pass that specific gene for developing skin cancer to their offspring, who in turn, may also pass the gene onto their offspring, and thus, the cycle continues. However, genetics alone does not determine whether or not one will develop skin cancer. Many human behaviors play a critical role in not only the development of cancers but also other conditions and diseases. The use of tanning beds for example, especially by younger girls, is an important behavior that is correlated to the development of skin cancer. One study showed that when asked if they had ever used a tanning bed, 21% of teenage girls admitted to using a tanning bed one or more times in the last year. Although it seems obvious that exposing one’s skin directly to UV rays is dangerous and can cause the development of cancer, it seems that more people are turning to tanning beds in order to achieve the desired “natural glow,” and are willing to risk developing skin cancer as well as damaging their skin in the process. Genetics and race are somewhat similar terms and are interconnected in their definition. Genetics can be defined through one’s genes-what makes up a particular person. Our genes are what give us the distinct pigment of our skin, and the color of our skin is how we classify one’s race. Race is a category based on how one looks on the outside. Race can also define a specific culture or way of life.
Portia T. Bradford, “Skin Cancer in Skin of Color.” Dermatology Nursing. 2009;21(4):170-77; 206, accessed July 11, 2014. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/712363